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Let's Talk Ceiling Speakers (1 Viewer)

Foxman

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I have a pair of Klipsch CDT5800's arriving sometime today. The area above the speaker is a pretty traditional attic space with blown-in insulation and for the life of me, I cannot find anywhere that states definitively if I need to either:

A: Box in the speakers

B: Move the blown-in insulation away from the speakers (allowing cold air into the living room)

C : Fuggettaboutit and just roll with it



Does anyone have experience with these or others similar?
 

Dave Upton

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Hi Rodney,

Ceiling speakers are pretty easy to deal with. They don't require a back box unless specifically outlined in the installation instructions. Likewise, insulation isn't a problem either. Just push the insulation slightly out of the way when installing them and you're good to go.
 

Adam Gregorich

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While a back box is not required, it can improve the sound. Speakers are designed for a specific enclosure size for best performance. The enclosure size is the optimum size with typical floor/room speakers. With in-wall and ceiling speakers the enclosure size varies depending on the attic/ceiling/wall cavity. Some in-wall/ceiling speakers have optional enclosures you can buy. These will not only improve sound quality since you have an enclosure optimized for the speaker (and all speakers in your room will now have the same performance), but decrease sound transmission and keep fire ratings (neither of which may matter in an attic).

If your speakers are for just background audio in a room I probably wouldn't worry about it. If they are going to be used for a in-ceiling home theater I personally would use them. I have no idea what the impact will be on your specific system because there are so many variables. Here is a link to the box for your speakers: https://www.klipsch.com/products/architectural-accessories?model=me-800-c They are available on Amazon for $78 each: https://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-ME-800-C-Enclosure-Reference-Ceiling/dp/B001I1Q16C

I believe fire rated boxes are now required in most areas if the speakers are between living areas/floors. I don't think an attic requires one, but can't speak for your jurisdiction.
 

Dave Upton

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While it's true that many speakers perform best at a given enclosure size, most in-wall or in-ceiling speakers are designed and modeled to perform quite well in a larger enclosure (ie: attic or wall). This is called an infinite baffle. Many of the best sounding drivers and subs in the world are open baffle designs. In most cases, you can call the manufacturer and ask if they recommend a box. If you look at certain players like Triad, they will recommend a specific enclosure for new installs. My experience has been that it doesn't make a massive difference in terms of audio quality with well designed speakers, but it does isolate the room better and protect the speaker from leaks, dust etc.

The primary noticeable benefit of most back-boxes is that they isolate the speaker from the adjoining room and prevent noise from being heard outside the listening space. If your speaker manufacturer offers a back-box for the model you plan to install, and it's affordable (as Adam showed above), then you have no reason not to. I just want to be clear that the differences in any actual sound quality in the room aren't nearly as pronounced as some claim unless the speaker was designed for use with a back-box only.
 

John Dirk

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While it's true that many speakers perform best at a given enclosure size, most in-wall or in-ceiling speakers are designed and modeled to perform quite well in a larger enclosure (ie: attic or wall).

Agreed. My RSL C34E's are stellar and my installation did not include boxed enclosures. You just have to make sure you have your crossovers adjusted properly so as not to damage them with excessive bass [as with any speaker] and you'll be fine.
 

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